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Occupational Therapy Month
Occupational Therapists help Patients live life to its fullest
April is OT Month! Each year in April, occupational therapists, occupational therapy assistants, and students in practice, education, research, and science host a month-long celebration showcasing the importance of Occupational Therapy.
The Occupational Therapy (OT) profession has been an essential part of the Army since 1947 with roots dating back to the early 1900s during WWI as reconstruction aides. The mission then was no different than the mission today of helping Soldiers return to the battlefield. Modern Army OT envisions a powerful, widely recognized, globally connected and diversified workforce dedicated to helping Soldiers gain independence after an injury.
The profession enables people of all ages to live life to its fullest by helping them promote health, prevent-or live better with-injury, illness, or disability. It is a practice deeply rooted in science and is evidence-based, meaning that the plan designed for each individual is supported by data, experience, and "best practices" that have been developed and proven over time.
Occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants focus on "doing" whatever occupations or activities are meaningful to the individual. These activities are able to optimize a Soldier's performance and readiness in garrison and combat missions; living life to its fullest. These solutions may be adaptations for how to do a task, changes to the surroundings, or helping individuals to alter their own behaviors. At Fort Drum, the U.S. Army Medical Department Activity offers OT services in three distinct practice areas. These include: Orthopedic hand therapy, Wounded Warrior rehabilitation, and mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) rehabilitation.
The hand clinic is located at Guthrie and provides detailed neuromusculoskeletal evaluation of the upper extremity and treatment prescription to individuals who have undergone surgery or conservative management of orthopedic arm and hand injuries. Usually daily routines and activities, work tasks, and recreational pursuits are affected causing an imbalance between work and play. Treatment approaches involve using thermal/electrical modalities, purposeful activities, adaptive equipment, splinting, and occupational interventions to decrease pain and edema, increase range of motion and strength in order to maximize a person's functional independence.
The TBI Clinic is located on South post behind Behavioral Health. OT treatments focus on life skills training, memory compensation techniques, and assistive technology training. This clinic offers both individual and group formats focusing on helping Soldiers achieve goals and returning to duty.
Within the Warrior Transition Unit, Occupational Therapists (OTs) and Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants (COTAs) work with Soldiers helping them attain their highest/optimal level of independent function. Utilizing a holistic approach, the WTU-OT promotes each Soldier's transition, whether returning to duty, separating from service, or planning on changing his/her military occupational specialty (MOS). S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time Based) goals are set for both long-term and short-term to assist Soldiers in a variety of areas including vocational and avocational integration; ensuring an effective and successful transition.
When working with an OT Practitioner, strategies and modifications are customized for each individual to resolve problems, improve function, and support everyday living activities. The goal is to maximize potential. Through these therapeutic approaches, OT helps individuals design their lives, develop needed skills, adjust their environments - for instance, home, school, or work - and build health-promoting habits and routines that will allow them to thrive. By taking the full picture into account - a person's psychological, physical, emotional, and social make-up as well as their environment - OT assists clients to do the following:
Editor's Note: The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) represents the interests and concerns of more than 140,000 occupational therapists, assistants and students nationwide. The Association educates the public and advances the profession of occupational therapy by providing resources, setting standards including accreditations and serving as an advocate to improve health care. Based in Bethesda, Md., AOTA's major programs and activities are directed toward promoting the professional development of its members and assuring consumer access to quality services so patients can maximize their individual potential.
For more information, go to www.aota.org .
(Compiled from AOTA and USA MEDDAC Information)